ShujaazFM: Young Kenyans making things happen!

One World Media Award Winner ShujaazFM (Heroes in Sheng) is a nation-wide multi-media project inspiring and motivating millions of young Kenyans to take action to improve their lives and engage with urgent practical issues that shape their future. ShujaazFM was launched by Well Told Story (WTS) in March 2010 after a year of research, design, testing and development.

The platform was created in response to an urgent need to connect over 30 million Kenyans aged less than 30 years with ideas and opportunities that create employment, generate income, protect fragile livelihoods and environments, and help them to engage with governance and service delivery in constructive, democratic ways.

Since onset, ShujaazFM has been communicating back and forward with young Kenyans on an unequalled scale using multiple, interconnecting popular media. Up to 600,000 comics are developed, produced and distributed each month. The issues in the comics are discussed in short 5-7 minute segments on at least 17 different radio stations daily. In turn through this media young people are encouraged to send their views, and on average over 2,000 short messages (SMSs) are received each month and used to inform future programming. Social media contacts on the ShujaazFM Facebook page and the ShujaazFM Twitter page have also been cultivated. Together, this media ecology constitutes the largest youth engagement initiative in Kenya today.

Along the way ShujaazFM has built a team of very talented young writers, artists, designers and producers. And it has advanced the ideas and information of a set of visionary partners that are helping to transform the futures of Kenyan youth. Among these partners perhaps the most important and supportive has been Twaweza.

An independent survey confirmed that ShujaazFM touched the lives of 15 million Kenyans in its first six months. The goal now is to increase that number further, while finding ever more ways to deepen the positive impact this unique multi-media channel is having on life for young Kenyans.

Between 2011 and 2013, WTS will continue to work closely with Twaweza and its partners to ensure that the goals, concerns and innovations it supports to advance young Kenyans are further amplified and projected to the lives of at least 20 million young people, in practical and inspiring ways that lead to lasting change.

To achieve this, WTS will grow and extend ShujaazFM to nurture an ever-larger audience of engaged and motivated youth. New innovations, such as developing animated cartoons for TV, are being tested. Expansion into Tanzania and Uganda will also be explored. WTS will ensure that this huge audience of dedicated young “heroes” is able to follow, access and, participate in the large scale social transformations that Twaweza stands for.

For news coverage see, visit articles on CNN and KenyaVibe. Watch a YouTube clip on how comics can be animated for TV.

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